Utne Blogs > Politics

Southern Sudan’s Animal-Shaped Cities

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: Urban Planning, Sudan, Politics, Voice of America, Infrastructurist, Will Wlizlo,


The government of Southern Sudan unveiled a sweeping, multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop its regional capital cities. Given the precarious financial state of the Sudanese government, the bold proposal was shockingly unexpected.  But what really had people scratching their heads was that the upgraded cities would take the shape of various fruits and animals.

Voice of America reports “the $10.1 billion plan proposes remaking cities in Sudan’s south into shapes found on regional flags.  Blueprints and maps illustrate Juba in the shape of a rhinoceros, Yambio fashioned after a pineapple and Wau as a giraffe.”

Although impressed by the ingenuity and creativity of the Sudanese urban planners, Infrastructurist’s Melissa Lafsky soberly addresses the problems of pie-in-the-sky development projects. “At the end of the day,” she writes,

trying too hard to demonstrate innovation can backfire, and wind up drawing attention away from even more important factors — like eliminating massive slums and basic infrastructure problems in the region. And what about the government apathy and incompetence that led to billions of dollars lost to corruption and poor management since the end of the war? Sparkling new cities, assuming they get completed, will certainly put forth an image of renewal — but whether they substantially improve the lives of the average Sudanese citizen remains to be seen.

(Thanks, Infrastructurist.)

Sourch: Voice of America

Image courtesy of VOA News.